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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 27
OSCE media freedom representative presents legal review of Georgian broadcasting law amendments

OSCE media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic, in a letter to the Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, presented a legal review of the amendments made to the Georgian broadcasting law, emphasizing the need to ensure the full functioning of the public broadcaster during the transition period.

“The proposed amendments improve the current law, ensuring greater pluralism and transparency in the work of the public broadcaster. This is also achieved by redefining the tasks, duties and appointment procedure of the Director General and the Board of Trustees. It is also very positive that the public broadcaster will have a new obligation to carry the signal of other broadcasters as part of its network,” said Mijatovic.

She added that “the main shortcoming of the draft is the lack of transitional provisions until the new board is appointed. This should be introduced to ensure the full functioning of the broadcaster during the transition.”

The legal review was prepared by Professor Katrin Nyman Metcalf, a prominent media legal expert. The Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media will continue to follow the progress of the law. (OSCE)

Saakashvili displeased about slow pace of BTK railways

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili believes that all the projects started under the previous government should be completed. The Georgian President said this after reviewing the progress of the construction of the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line.

He also inspected the construction of the new railway station in Akhalkalaki.

Saakashvili expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that work on this project was temporarily stopped. The president demanded that such an important project be finished under the terms that were previously agreed.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being built on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish inter-state agreement. Azerbaijan provided a loan worth $775 million for construction of the Georgian section.

$431.3 million has been allocated since the beginning of the funding of the project and up until January 1, 2013.

In the future, with the completion of the Marmaray project (construction of a tunnel under the Bosporus), access to Europe will be provided through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. (Trend)

U.S. Department of State welcomes Georgian Constitutional Amendment

The U.S. Department of State welcomed Georgia's Constitutional Amendment on limiting the president's rights to dissolve parliament and the highest legislative body of Georgia.

"The Georgian parliament voted unanimously to approve an amendment that, consistent with international constitutional norms, removes the president's unilateral power to appoint a new government without parliamentary approval. The United States congratulates the leadership of Georgia and the parliamentary majority and minority on this important, bipartisan measure. It paves the way for the consolidation of Georgian democracy and renewed focus on the many issues facing the government today," Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said.

"We are encouraged by the political consensus underlying this agreement and urge all political actors to maintain a constructive, forward-looking tone in public discourse, in the interest of ensuring further progress for the good of Georgia and its citizens," the statement says. (Trend)

Azerbaijani, Turkish and Georgian FMs to adopt co-op plan for 2013-2015

Foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia will adopt an interdepartmental cooperation plan for 2013-2015 in the next trilateral meeting in Batumi on March 28, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister David Jalagania said at a briefing on Monday.

The plan was developed by the relevant departments and envisages implementation of specific projects and specific initiatives. It covers areas such as economy, energy, environmental protection, culture, education, sports and youth, Jalagania said.

He said the foundation of the ministerial was laid on June 8, 2012 in the Turkish city of Trabzon within the Trabzon Declaration signed by foreign ministers of the three countries.

The Declaration reflects the most important areas of mutual cooperation between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey in areas such as economy, energy, infrastructure, transport, culture and humanitarian field.

Following the ministerial the foreign ministers of the three countries will sign the final protocol. (Azernews)

Mikheil Saakashvili addresses Parliament over the appointment of five new ambassadors

President Mikheil Saakashvili has addressed the parliament over the appointment of five new ambassadors to foreign countries and organizations. According to the president’s administration, he offered candidates to the legislative body. The candidates are the following: Khatuna Salukvadze – Ambassador of Georgia to Lithuania, Zurab Pataradze – Kazakhstan, Irakli Koplatadze – Turkey, Teimuraz Sharashenidze – Azerbaijan, Konstantine Korkelia – the Council of Europe. (IPN)